3 Things We Learned When Notre Dame Beat Duke

The Fighting Irish defeated the Blue Devils 27-13 on Saturday

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Quick-Hitters

  • For the first time in program history, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish won a conference game last week, beating the Duke Blue Devils 27-13. The Irish also learned a few things about what kind of team they have in 2020.

  • After winning a wide-open preseason competition, sophomore Kyren Williams is the right pick as the team’s starting running back.

  • Ian Book has his work cut out for him with a group of wide receivers that failed to distinguish themselves against Duke.

  • The Notre Dame offensive line can and will need to continue to be a dominant unit for the Irish to continue winning.

  • Notre Dame is favored by 26.0 points over South Florida in their next matchup with the over/under set at 52.0 total points. CLICK HERE FOR LIVE GAME LINES!

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Question Answered At RB

Notre Dame wasn't sure what to expect at the running back position heading into the season, but sophomore Kyren Williams made a great first impression against the Duke Blue Devils. After earning the starting job in training camp, Williams got 19 carries and rushed for 112 yards, finding the end zone twice. At 5’9", he’s not a powerful back, but he doesn’t shy away from hits and should be able to run between the tackles. Williams also has the speed to run away from defenders if he gets loose. He also ended the game as Notre Dame’s leading receiver thanks to a 75-yard catch and run.

Unreliable Wide Outs

One big problem for Notre Dame is that Williams was the team’s leading receiver. The team’s wide receivers were a big question mark heading into the season, and those questions remain unanswered after the season-opener. No one in the group stood out, as an injury to Ben Skowronek didn't help matters.

In classic Notre Dame fashion, tight ends Tommy Tremble and freshman Michael Mayer made a positive impact in the passing game. Avery Davis also caught Ian Book’s only touchdown pass of the game. Book could be in trouble if he doesn’t get more help from his receivers. If you take away the 75-yard catch and run by Williams, Book barely averaged 6.0 yards per pass attempt, which isn’t going to get it done.

Offensive Line Dominance

The Irish entered the season-opener expecting to lean on their offensive line in 2020, and it looks like they’ll be able to do just that. Despite a sluggish start, the Notre Dame offensive line was able to assert itself more in the second-half against a quality Duke defensive line. That unit certainly made things easier for Williams despite allowing Book to be sacked three times. As the Irish continue to look for playmakers in the passing game, the experienced offensive line will continue to be a focal point of the offense.

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